In the book “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine”, Jungian psychologist Robert Moore and mythologist Douglas Gillette propose that masculinity is made up of four archetypal male energies which serve different purposes. All men from all generations, all walks for life, and all geographic regions are born with these archetypal energies. The authors argue that, in order to become a complete man, one must work to develop all four archetypes. The result of striving to become complete is a feeling of manly confidence and purpose.
The book was originally published in 1990, and it helped spark the mythopoetic men’s movement that rose in the 1980s and quickly fizzled out in the 1990s. One of the reasons the movement died out was because of the lack of support from the feminist movement, and a lack of women’s perspective that could promote and integrate the philosophy and individual work of men into the lattice of society.
Carl Jung was one of the early and most influential modern psychologists. A lot of modern techniques, methods and tests such as the Myers-Briggs personality test are based in the work of Carl Young. Jung worked with and studied under the father of modern psychology, Sigmund Freud. They both believed in the power of the unconscious mind, but Freud focused on the unconscious as the place in which people harbored and repressed negative emotions and deviant thoughts, while Jung thought that – while negative emotions were indeed repressed in the unconscious – there is also an immense reservoir of positive experiences, thoughts, and emotions that are held in the unconscious.
Freud spoke only of the “personal unconscious”, while Jung introduced the notion of the “collective unconscious”. According to Jung, the collective unconscious consists of instinctual and universal thought patterns that humans developed over thousands of years of evolution. Jung called these primordial behavior blueprints “archetypes.” For Jung, archetypes form the foundation of all personal experience. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sophisticated businessman living in a high-rise apartment in Manhattan or a bushman living in a hut in Africa. Jung would argue that no matter who you are, you have the same archetypal behaviors embedded within you.
Jung believed that these archetypes of human behavior came to the surface in the conscious mind through symbols, rituals, and myths. He argued that these archetypical patterns explain why we see similar motifs and symbols in rituals and mythical stories across cultures. For example, the dying/resurrecting God figure can be found in the stories and myths of ancient Greeks, ancient Sumerians, Christians, and Native Americans.
Archetypes aren’t personality types. Jung didn’t think you could classify a person as a specific archetype. A man can’t take a test to tell him that he’s a “Shadow”, “Animus, “Anima”, or “Persona”. Rather, the archetypes are simply patterns of behavior and thought, or “energies” that can be found in all people in varying degrees.
Psychologist Robert Moore took the concept of Jung’s archetypes and used it to create a framework that explained the development of mature and integral masculinity in men. Moore argued that the problems we see with men today–violence, shiftlessness, aloofness–are a result of modern men not adequately exploring or being in touch with the primal, masculine archetypes that reside within them. Like Jung, Moore believed that men and women possess both feminine and masculine archetypal patterns. The problem with modern men is that Western society suppresses the masculine archetype within them, and instead encourages men to get in touch with their feminine, “softer” side, which only becomes a problem if the development of the feminine comes at the expense of the masculine.
According to Moore, masculine psychology is made up of four major archetypes: King, Warrior, Magician, and Lover. In order for a man to achieve mature masculine strength and energy, he must be in touch with all four. When a man is not in conscious relationship with an archetype, he is automatically ruled by its bipolar shadow, often switching back and forth between the active and passive poles, completely at he mercy of events.
Awareness of which archetype dominates too strongly in the psyche, or is animated in the active or passive shadow poles – as opposed to the integrated and mature aspect – provides an opportunity for healing and integration, thus getting one’s power back. This type of awareness is what I promote in my new men’s Meetup group, “Masculinity Movies”. By watching movies, men get to experience other men’s struggles and risings, and apply the lessons learned to their own psyche, and to their own lives.
Each archetype is represented as a triangle, with the top representing the integrated archetype, and active and passive bipolar shadow aspects in the left and right corners. For each archetype, there are two triangles, one for the evolution of the Boy, and one for the evolution of the Man.
The King Archetype
The King in his fullness is a maturation of the Divine Child. This process typically starts in adolescence.
The Divine Child in all of us is the source of life, a vital aspect of the Self. When in touch with it, the boy feels well-being, enthusiasm for life, peace and joy. When not in touch with it, the boy lives in its shadows, the High Chair Tyrant, or the Weakling Prince.
The High Chair Tyrant has a superiority complex that covers the boy’s real sense of vulnerability, weakness, and inferiority. He is self-righteous, proud and arrogant, demanding of oneself and others in ways that cannot be fulfilled. He throws his toys out of the cot. He hangs his spoon and screams for his mother to feed him, kiss him, and adore him, and even when she does as he demands, it is still never enough, nor good enough. He is the perfectionist who berates himself and others when he can’t meet the demands of the infant within. The High Chair tyrant has to learn that the gods always bring down those mortals who, like Icarus, want to fly to high, get too demanding or arrogant.
The Weakling Prince has little personality, enthusiasm for life, confidence, personal power or initiative. He needs to be coddled, and manipulates by silence, or by wining and complaining. He needs to be carried around on a pillow, everything is too much for him. He doesn’t compete, unless he is sure to win, and he is often sick. He controls by being the helpless victim. He occupies an invisible throne. He will sometimes jump to the other pole, by throwing a rageful tantrum.
The King is the Divine Child, but seasoned, complex, and wise. While the Divine Child was self-involved, the King is selfless. The infantile Ego has let go.
The King is the central archetype, around which the rest of the psyche is organized. His energy is sacred father energy. It is the kingship that is important, not the King himself. He serves his family, he serves his community, and he serves the world. The King comes close to being God in his masculine form within every man. The light of his masculine consciousness and wisdom creates civilization, culture, justice, law, technology, prosperity, and peace. He empowers others through masculine nurturance, discipline, guidance, reassurance, and wise, fair and clear decisions, thus promoting orderly growth. He recognizes, praises and honors potential, talents, abilities, competence and achievement in others.
The King represents the qualities of order, reasonable and rational behavior, integration and integrity in the masculine psyche. He stabilizes chaotic emotions and out-of-control behaviors. He brings calm, stability, centeredness, and balance. The King in us looks upon the world with a firm but kind eye. He sees in others all their weakness, as well as their talents and worth. He guides them and nurtures them toward their fullness of being.
When not in touch with his King, a man is controlled by the active and passive poles of his shadow, the Tyrant and the Weakling.
The Tyrant feels that he is the center of the universe. He pursues only his own interests. He is ruthless, merciless and without feeling. He does not create, he destroys emerging hopes, talents and aspirations. King Herols and King Saul of the bible are good examples.
The Tyrant is envious, hateful, deprecating, and abusive. He fears new life in himself and others, because new life is a threat to his own slim grasp on his own kingship. He hates beauty and strength in others because he lacks inner structure, and is afraid of his own hidden weaknesses. He is incredibly sensitive to criticism, and the slightest remark will make him feel weak and deflated, thus triggering a rage. He will humiliate and abuse abuse them, because he sees in them his own hidden fear, powerlessness and weakness, the Weakling in himself.
The Weakling lacks centeredness, calmness and security in himself. The abdication syndrome means that he gives away his power over his life to other people, external circumstances or substances. He feels impotent, incapable of acting or leading, indecisive, over-sensitive to the moods of his boss or wife, anxiously needing approval and safety. He may develop paranoia, or a dependent personality disorder.
In a dysfunctional family, the Kind energy is immature, weak or absent, and the family is given to disorder and chaos.
The Warrior Archetype
The Warrior in his fullness is a maturation of the Hero. This process typically starts in adolescence.
The Hero energy mobilizes the boy’s delicate Ego structures to enable him to break with the Mother at the end of boyhood, and tackle the difficult takes that life is beginning to assign to him. He needs to define himself as distinct from others, so that ultimately, as a distinct being, he can relate to others fully and creatively.
In order to establish his independence and competence, the Hero pushes and tests himself against the difficult, hostile forces of the world. He discovers his courage and strength, which encourages him to dream, and empowers him to strive for goals against impossible odds.
The Bully has an inflated sense of his own importance and his abilities, convinced that he is invulnerable. He claims center stage as his birth right, and if challenged, he will verbally and physically assault those who question it, thus revealing his underlying cowardice and deep insecurity. He does not recognize his limitations. With his infantile, god-like pretensions, only the “impossible dream” and the “unbeatable foe” is for him. He ends up shooting himself in the foot in the end.
The boy under the influence of the Bully works to impress others. He is not a team player. He is the hot-shot junior executive, salesman, stock market manipulator, or the soldier who takes unnecessary risks. As is the case with the other immature masculine forms, the Hero is overly tied to the Mother, but he has a driving need to overcome her. He is locked in mortal combat with the feminine, striving to conquer it, and to assert his masculinity.
The Coward will allow himself to be bullied emotionally and intellectually. When someone else is forceful with him, he will cave in, he will feel invaded and run-over. When he has had enough of this, however, the hidden grandiosity of the Bully within him will erupt suddenly, and he will launch a verbal or physical attack upon his enemy.
The Hero is only an advanced form of boy psychology. If carried into adulthood as the governing energy, it blocks men from full maturity. The hero has to die in order for the warrior to rise. The death of the Hero is the death of boyhood, and the birth of manhood. It means that the boy has finally encountered his limitations. He has met the enemy, and the enemy is himself. He has met his own dark side, his very unheroic side. He has fought the dragon, and been burned by it. He has overcome the Mother, and then relized his incapacity to love the Princess. The death of the Hero signals the end of arrogance and insensitivity, and a boy’s or a man’s encounter with true humility.
The Warrior is always alert and awake. He knows how to focus his mind and his body, how to control his own mind and attitudes. He achieves clarity of thinking and discernment through discipline and training. He is the mindful Samurai, and the native American hunter. Unlike the immature Hero, the Warrior realistically assesses his capacities and limitations, and never acts just to reassure himself he is potent. He never spends more energy that he has to, and he doesn’t talk too much. He knows what he wants, and how to get it. He is a strategist and a tactician. He demonstrates endurance and perseverance. He has great courage, and takes responsibility for his actions.
The Warrior traditions all affirm that, in addition to training, what enables a Warrior to reach clarity of thought is living with the awareness of his own imminent death. Rather than depressing him, this awareness leads him to an outpouring of life-force, and to an intense experience of life. He can withstand incredible amounts of pain, both psychological and physical. This is the energy behind most sports, street gang warfare, and violence in movies. A man’s urge to fight is his urge to face death in order to feel alive, and intensely experience life force inside his body. Aggressiveness is a stance towards life that arouses, energizes and motivates.
A man is emotionally detached and distant as long as he is a Warrior. This bewilders and frustrates many women, who don’t understand that this attitude is part of the clarity of his thinking. It is not that he doesn’t want to share his feelings, but he looks at his tasks, decisions, and actions dispassionately and unemotionally. He cannot think or feel too much, because he cannot hesitate. He has to make split-second decisions and act decisively.
Unlike the Hero’s loyalty, which is primarily to himself, the Warrior shows loyalty and commitment to something larger than himself: a cause, a god, a people, a principle, a marriage. When a man’s psyche is organized around his central commitment, he shows endurance and perseverance, and it eliminates a great deal of human pettiness and personal Ego.
The Warrior is a destroyer, but he only destroys what needs to be destroyed in order for something fresh, more alive and virtuous to be created. In the very act of destroying, the Warrior energy is building new civilizations, new commercial, artistic, spiritual, and personal ventures.
We live in a time when people are uncomfortable with the Warrior form of masculine energy. Women especially are uncomfortable with it, because they have been the most direct victims of its active shadow form, the sadist. When the Warrior operates on his own, the results can be disastrous, because his bi-polar shadows can take over. However, when he is connected with the other mature masculinity energies – the King, the Magician, and the Lover, something truly splendid emerges.
The Sadist is the heartless killing machine in society. He runs his family like a miniature Boot Camp. He is commanding, deprecating, critical, and cruel towards his wife and children. Like Darth Vader, he constantly has his emotional sword out, swinging at everyone. The Warrior as avenging spirit comes into us when we are very frightened and very angry.
The Sadist is unsure of his own masculine power. He is still battling against what he experiences as the frightening power of the feminine, and against everything supposedly “soft”, emotional, or relational. He hates the “weak”, the “helpless” and the vulnerable, which is really the Sadist’s own hidden and projected cowardly Masochist.
The Masochist is obsessed with succeeding, and doesn’t like to take care of himself. He neglects his physical and mental well-being. He is also the martyr, stressed out, overwhelmed by exhaustion, high blood pressure, loneliness and self-pity.
The Masochist doesn’t know when to quit an impossible relationship, or a frustrating job. He ignores the danger signs, can’t cut his losses, digs in and works harder, and then explodes in a sadistic outburst of verbal or even physical violence. A man possessed by the passive pole of the Masochist will dream, but not be able to act decisively to make his dreams come true. He will lack vigor and be depressed. He lacks the capacity to endure the pain necessary for the accomplishment of any worthwhile goal. He mopes and procrastinates, avoids confrontation and conflict, makes promises and then ducks and dives. He is defeated before he starts.
The Magician Archetype
The Precocious ChildThe Precocious Child manifests in a boy when he is eager to learn, when his mind is quickened, when he is eager to share what he has learned with others. There’s a glint in his eye, and an energy of body and mind that shows he is adventuring in the world of ideas. He wants to know the “why”, “what”, and “where” of everything. He may learn to read at an early age, so that he can answer his own questions. He is a good student, and an eager participant in class discussions. He is talented in one or more areas: art, music, or sports. He may even be a child prodigy.
The Precocious Child is the origin of our curiosity and our adventurous impulses. He urges us to be the explorers and pioneers of the unknown, the strange and the mysterious. He causes to wonder at the world around us and the world inside of us. He wants to know what makes other people tick, and what makes himself tick. He wants to know why people act the way they do, why he has the feelings he has. He may be introverted and reflective, and he is able to see the hidden connections in things. He may also be extroverted, easily reaching out to others to share his insights and talents with them. He often has a powerful sarge to help others with his knowledge. He may be a shoulder to cry on, and help his friends with his schoolwork. The Precocious Child in a man keeps his sense of wonder and curiosity alive, stimulates his intellect, and moves him in the direction of the mature Magician.
The Know-It-All Trickster
As the name implies, the Know-It-All Trickster is the immature masculine energy that plays tricks, of more or less serious nature, in one’s own life and on others. He is an expert at creating appearances, and then “selling” us on those appearances. He seduces people into believing in him, and then pulls the rug from under them. He gains others’ trust, to only betray and laugh at their misery. He enjoys intimidating others, and he wants others to know he is more intelligent than they are.
The Know-It-All Trickster makes many enemies. He is verbally abusive, and even when trashed, he comes away with a defiant conviction of his own superiority. He dominates conversations, turning friendly discussions into lectures, and arguments into diatribes. He deprecates those who don’t know what he knows, or who hold different opinions.
The man who is possessed by this infantile shadow displays a “I’m too busy to talk to you right now” attitude. He is smug and wears a cocky grin. In deceiving others, he often deceives himself about the depth of his knowledge, or his level of importance. He less he is in touch with his true abilities, the more he will envy others.
The positive side of the Know-It-All Trickster is that he is good at deflating egos. This tendency, although geared at exposing lies and revealing the truth, if left unchecked, can become destructive of self and others. It can be hostile and deprecating of all real effort, all the rights, and all the beauty of others.
The Know-It-All Trickster, like the High Chair Tyrant, does not really want to do anything himself. He does not want to honestly ear anything. He seeks the fall of great men, but he does not want to replace them, because he does not want the responsibilities. The Know-It-All Trickster has no heroes, because he cannot admire others while he doesn’t have a sense of his own worthiness.
The Naive Dummy
The Naive Dummy seems unresponsive and dull. He is often labeled as a slow learner. He lacks a sense of humor, and misses the point of jokes. He may appear physically inept, and lack coordination. He appears naive, and is the lat kid on the block to learn about the “birds and the bees”.
Behind his ineptitude, the Dummy may be dishonest. He may grasp far more than he shows. His Dummy mask may hide grandiosity that feels itself too important, as well as too vulnerable) to come into the world. Thus, intimately intertwined with a secret Know-It-All, the Dummy is also a Trickster.
The Magician is the knower and the master of technology. All knowledge that takes special training to acquire is the province of the Magician. Shamans, inventors, scientists, doctors, psychologist, teachers, stockbrokers, lawyers, technicians, and priests – all are using the power of knowledge. He is the ritual elder who guides the processes of transformation within himself, in others, and the world. He is the initiate of secret knowledge of all kinds.
The Magician is the archetype of awareness, knowledge, objectivity, and insight. Its role is to stand back, observe, scan the horizon for data, and then, using the power of knowledge, to make those informed decisions that are life-enhancing for self, others, and society.
The Magician keeps us insulated from the overwhelming power of other archetypes. He often comes online in a crisis. He is the energy of thoughtfulness and reflection, the capacity to detach from inner and outer storms, and to connect with deep inner truths and resources. In his fullness, he is immovable in his stability, centeredness, and emotional detachment. He is not easily pushed or pulled around.
When the Magician archetype is integrated into a man, he looks for ways to turn disappointing situations and setbacks into opportunities to learn, grow, and become a better man.
The DETACHED MANIPULATOR
The Detached Manipulator is the powerful form of the Magician. He doesn’t guide others, he directs them in ways that they cannot see. He is the charlatan, the con-man. He maneuvers people by withholding from them information they may need for their well-being. He charges heavily for the little information he does give, which is usually just enough to demonstrate his superiority and great learning. He is not only detached, but also self-serving and cruel. He is the teacher who attacks his students, seeking to crush their enthusiasm, the medical specialist who withdraws vital information from his patients, the lawyer who charges outrageous fees and doesn’t inform his client that the case is actually hopeless, the politician whose promises are empty and lines his own pockets with graft money.
There are thousands of Manipulators online. Everywhere you look there are promising you the secrets to getting women, losing weight, making money…if you’ll only buy their $200 eBook.
The Detached Manipulator is also the man who thinks too much, who stands back from his life, and never lives it. He may be caught in a web of pros and cons about his decisions and lost in a labyrinth of reflective meanderings from which he cannot extricate himself. He is afraid to leap into battle. He can only sit on a rock and think. He is the hair-splitter. In his fear of making a wrong decision, he makes none.
The man under the power of the Manipulator not only hurts others with his cynical detachment front he world of human values, but also hurts himself. Withholding from others, he eventually feels isolated and lonely. He ends up regretting a life of sterility. By cutting himself off from relatedness with others, he has cut off his own soul.
The NAIVE/ INNOCENT ONE
The man who is possessed by the Innocent One wants the power and status that belongs to the Magician, but he doesn’t want to take the responsibilities that belong to a mature man. He doesn’t want to know himself, and he doesn’t want to make the great effort necessary to become skilled at containing and channeling power in constructive ways. He wants to learn just enough to derail those who are making worthwhile efforts. These are guys who get super excited about a new hobby, a faith, or a career path, and after the easy part has passed (coming up with the name of the band, buying a skateboard, designing the start-up’s logo), they realize how much “dead work” is required to get really good at the cool thing, and they give up.
While he is protesting the innocence of his hidden power motives, the Innocent one, “too good” to make any real efforts himself, criticizes, deflates, or blocks others and seeks their downfall. His underlying motivation comes from envy of those who act, who live, who share. He is also afraid that others may discover his lack of energy and throw him off his very wobbly pedestal. His detachment and his “impressive” behavior, his deflating remarks, his hostility towards questions, even his accumulated expertise, are all designed to cover his real inner desolation and hide his actual lifelessness and irresponsibility. Such men are slippery and elusive. They parry others’ attempts to confront them by keeping them off balance, and seducing them into an endless process of questioning about their motives and intuitions about their behavior.
The Lover Archetype
The Oedipal Child archetype gives a boy the desire to forge relationships with others and the affection and warmth to nurture those relationships. At the heart of this archetypes is the desire for connection–a connection with oneself, with the deeper forces of life, with nature, and with other people. In this way, the Oedipal Child archetype contains the seeds of a man’s spirituality.
The Mama’s Boy. Instead of tapping into the positive feminine energy associated with “the Great Mother,” the Mama’s Boy fixates on the energy as embodied by his real mother (and other women). He is too connected to his mom. This shadow archetype takes control when there is no father, or a weak father in the home.
The Mama’s Boy is “tied to Mama’s apron strings.” He never wants to offend, hurt, or worry his mother. He lives to please dear old mom, even if that means putting her desires and wishes above his own. Nothing gives him more satisfaction than hearing his mom say, “That’s a good boy.”
Many men never break out from under the influence of the Mama’s Boy shadow. They always acquiesce to their mother’s wishes and put what mom wants ahead of what their wives want (and what they themselves want). These men never learn that man was made to leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife only.
The Mama’s Boy gets caught up in chasing the beautiful, the yearning for union with Mother. He is never satisfied with a mortal woman, because he is seeking the Immortal Goddess. He often falls into porn addiction, and masturbates compulsively. A man under the power of the Mama’s Boy shadow moves from failed relationship to failed relationship, or spends countless hours each week looking at porn, in hopes that he’ll find a woman who’ll fulfill his need.
The Dreameris isolated and cut off from all human relationships. He accomplishes little, appears withdrawn or depressed, and swings between melancholia and utopia. The only relationships he has are with intangible things, the world of his imagination. He spends too much time dreaming, and not enough time learning how to have relationships with other people, and thus developing the social skills needed to make his dreams comes true.
The mask of the Dreamer in fact hides the grandiosity of Mama’s boy, the irritation and resentment he has for having failed to achieve possession of the Mother.
This is the archetype of emotion, feeling, idealism, and sensuality.
The lover is passionate, warm, affectionate, alive, and enthusiastic. He wants to experience as many dimensions of life as possible, and as often as possible, using all of his senses: touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, and seeing. He lives in the world of sensory pleasure and in one’s own body without shame. He wants to touch and be touched, physically and emotionally. When a man taps into the Lover archetype’s energy, he feels alive with vim and vigor, and connected to the world and those around him. He feels deeply, whether those feelings are of joy or pain. He has a deep appreciation for, and connectedness with his inner depths, those of others and of all things. He has a sense of wonder and mystic oneness that comes out of a deep yearning for the Infinitely good, nurturing, beautiful Mother, the one beyond all beauty and feeling. The same primal energy the lover animates in his hunger for sex, food, reproduction, and creativity, he uses to find a sense of healthy sense of meaning.
A modern story that exemplifies the Lover archetype isZorba the Greek. Zorba is a man who lives life fully. He’s earthy. He loves good food and drink. He dances his heart out. Zorba understands that for a man to be truly free, he needs to have a deep emotional life, he needs a little madness.
If you are in the mood for a sad but true story of a real lover, watch Danny and Annie.
The ADDICTED LOVER
Any time a man is possessed by the shadow of an archetype, his energy works to his destruction and the destruction of others around him. The Addicted Lover becomes lost in an ocean of the senses, a victim of his own sensitivity. He can’t stop eating, drinking, or using drugs. He has no discipline. He asks himself: “Why should I put any limits on my sensual and sexual experience of this vast world?” He seeks the ultimate “orgasm” or high. He lives for the pleasure of the moment only, which locks him in a web of immobility he cannot escape.
At the same time, the Addicted Lover is eternally restless, always searching for something, he himself not knowing what that something is. He constantly looks for a way out of the spider’s web he locked himself in, not knowing that what he thinks is the way out is in fact the way deeper in. He screams: “Stop the world, I want to get off”. One way to detach from the chaotic power of the feminine unconscious is by means of sexual perversions, such as bondage.
When a mortal woman confronts the Addicted lover with with her mortality, weakness and limitations, she shatters his dream of finding the orgasm without end. This prompts him to leave, in search for another woman that may prove to be the immortal Goddess without limits, and the story repeats itself once again.
The IMPOTENT LOVER
While the Addicted Lover is the active pole, the Impotent Lover is the passive pole of the Lover’s shadow. While the Lover in his fullness sees the world in vivid colors and textures, the Impotent Lover only sees gray. He is bored, listless, and often depressed. He feels dead inside. He has a flat affect and speaks in a monotone voice. He is alienated from family, co-workers and friends, and most importantly cut off from himself. He may have a sense of himself as not real, or may even speak about himself in the 2nd or 3rd person. His life may seem like movie he is watching.
The Impotent Lover doesn’t know what he is feeling, as he cannot penetrate the shield existing between his conscious Ego and the emotions in his body. He’s got no libido, and no sex life. Underneath all of this listlessness, there lies smoldering anger against his wife, work stress, and money worries.
While the Addicted Lover does not give himself enough structure, the Impotent Lover can arise in a man who disciplines himself too much. The energy of the Lover archetype builds up behind this dam of limits, and without a healthy channel to pursue, sooner or later it bursts forth in destructive ways, like addiction to porn. The Impotent Lover becomes the Addicted Lover.